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Free queer hugs kick off Mumbai pride month

Free queer hugs kick off Mumbai pride month

LGBTI advocates offer free queer hugs to kick off the pride festival in Mumbai (Photo: Twitter)

LGBTI Indians kicked off the country’s largest pride festival in Mumbai this weekend.

Volunteers offered queer hugs outside Vashi station in Mumbai. Photos and videos of the event were widely shared on social media.

It was one of the first events in a month-long LGBTI program in India’s commercial hub.

The line up also includes film screenings, workshops, a flashmob, speed dating, and a sports contest.

What’s more, it culminates in a march through the city on 2 February. Organizers are currently crowdfunding the event.

Last year, thousands marched through the city streets. They demanded an end to India’s anti-gay law.

Section 377

This year, LGBTI Indians have something to celebrate.

In September last year, India’s Supreme Court dismantled the colonial-era law. It ruled Section 377 of the Penal Code was unconstitutional.

The court ruled that: ‘Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression’.

The 1861 law criminalized ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’. The law applied to anal and oral sex, with LGBTI advocates arguing it criminalizes homosexuality. People convicted under the law faced up to 10 years in jail.

‘We have to vanquish prejudice, embrace inclusion, and ensure equal rights,’ said Justice Misra in his judgment.

In November last year, thousands marched through the streets of capital New Delhi to celebrate the victory for LGBTI rights.
Organizers said it was the largest attendance since 2007.